Prius represents the original global hybrid vehicle technology and remains the only vehicle of its type in South Africa.
In designing the Prius Toyota engineers responded to the challenge of producing an advanced eco-friendly vehicle that embraces futuristic technologies.
It achieves all of this and fully meets contemporary motoring expectations for a vehicle in this size class.
South African buyers were introduced to this techno marvel just twelve months ago, shortly after the latest generation model became available in international markets.
It is this latest model of the Prius that has elevated global interest in Toyota's hybrid vehicle technology and boosted sales to a point that the Prius is in sight of 500 000 sales (the 500 000th Prius is expected to be delivered before the end of April 2006).
For 2006, the Prius has been given a minor facelift with aesthetic and practical improvements to the model.
This latest Prius offers an enhanced value proposition with additional specification valued at R32 000 with no increase in the recommended retail price of R269 000 including VAT.
Exterior changes include the addition of a front spoiler below the valance, a change to a chromed moulding from body colour for the insert above the front bumper, additional identification as a hybrid vehicle, and revised front and rear light clusters.
Interior revisions are more substantial. Heading up the list is the addition of satellite navigation as a standard feature, the first time that this has been made available on a Toyota in South Africa.
Seats now have full leather covering (in medium grey) for a luxury feel. The backing of the rear seat has been increased by 50mm in width and the hip point has been lowered for improved comfort.
Further changes to the aesthetics of the Prius interior are evident. The look and feel of the dashboard is enhanced by the addition of embossed leather trim and soft padding inserts. Auxiliary switches have been revised for improved visual appeal and the transmission shift indicator is enhanced for improved visibility.
The Prius standard features list includes:
Satellite navigation system;
audio system with radio and 6-CD changer (activated by satellite controls on steering wheel or touch screen on EMV display);
power windows on all four doors;
electric power steering;
height adjustment for the driver's seat;
remote central locking controlled by electronic smart key;
anti- theft alarm system with intrusion detection and electronic transponder type key matching and courtesy light fade-in, fade-out;
powered side mirrors;
plush leather upholstery;
foot operated parking brake;
60/40 split folding rear seat configuration;
aluminium rims (16 inch) with wheel covers are fitted.
Tyres are special low resistance type with the designation P195/55 R16.
Ample storage space is provided with three closed storage facilities in the dashboard area, an overhead spectacle storage area, and a centre console that features two main storage areas.
The front door side pockets include a recess designed to accommodate a 500ml water or soft drink bottle. Two cup holders are provided for the front and rear within the central console.
An auxiliary 12 volt power point is also provided in the central console. A tonneau cover is provided to secure the luggage compartment and an underfloor storage compartment in the boot provides a secure stowage area.
Frontal and side airbags are provided for the front seat occupants and curtain side airbads provide additional side impact protection for both front and rear compartments. This high level of protection combined with an inherently safe chassis design with excellent crash energy absorption characteristics provide the basis for an NCAP 5-star safety rating.
Toyota has specified its ECB2 (Electronically Controlled Brakes) system for the Prius. This system features regenerative braking, VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) and EBD (Electronic Brake force Distribution).
The ECB2 system controls the four-wheel independent action of the hydraulic brakes, VSC, brake assist and ABS with EBD in accordance with the vehicle's operating conditions.
Hydraulic brakes and the regenerative brake, which uses the HV system motor for its braking force, are applied in response to the driver's brake inputs. The ECB2 system controls the blending of the regenerative and hydraulic elements to use the regenerative brake efficiently and optimise fuel economy.
A power backup unit is included as a supplemental power source to ensure an uninterrupted supply of power to the braking system in emergency situations. This system uses a capacitor to feed power to the braking system in the event that the vehicle power supply goes down. The capacitor draws its charge from the vehicle power system and discharges when the ignition switch is turned off.
Toyota's Prius brings the future to reality in an elegant eco-friendly solution that provides an exceptional balance between energy efficiency, performance, interior space, features, and safety.
The Prius comes standard with an 8-year/195 000km service plan included in the price. Toyota's standard 3 year/100 000km warranty applies with 24-hour roadside assistance available during the warranty period.